Alon Ushpiz - We take care of our security by our means

Amb Ushpiz Talks to TOI About Gaza Terrorism


    Military conflict in the Gaza Strip is claiming several innocent lives including those of children. Alon Ushpiz, ambassador of Israel to India, spoke with Indrani Bagchi and Srijana Mitra Das about the clash, its past  and possible future:

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    21 November, 2012
    In your view, what is this conflict about?
    The right of a million people in Israel to conduct daily, normal life. That's one-seventh of Israel's population, living with thousands of rockets launched daily at them and 15 seconds to rush to shelters. Every member of the UN, every decent society, every responsible government has the right of self-defence and the duty to protect its citizens. Since 2005, when we left the Gaza Strip, we've been the target of rockets.
    The reality is the Gaza Strip is controlled by a terrorist organization, Hamas. The President of the Palestinian Authority has not been able to visit the Gaza Strip since the bloody coup of Hamas, whose charter calls for the destruction of Israel and the killing of every Jew.
    Perhaps recent events in the Middle East became a bedrock for Hamas. They might even have thought Israel, which goes into a political cycle, is vulnerable. Obviously, they're wrong  we're tremendously strong with our determination to protect our citizens.
    The UN hasn't provided Israel strong support why?
    I've been watching deliberations of the UN Security Council. I was impressed by voices, not only the Americans but beyond them, speaking about Hamas's responsibility for the last terrorist wave, Israel's right to act in self-defence and Israel's citizens' right to a normal life. You can see statements by President Obama and England's foreign secretary. President Obama also spoke about how it is intolerable for a nation to become the target of such a barrage of missiles.
    But let me add — at the end of the day, the responsibility to protect our citizens lies in the hands of our leaders. It's not something we sub-contract to anyone else. We take care of our security by our means.
    Some feel upcoming elections in Israel are driving this your response?
    I've seen some of these observations coming out of Hamas leaders. Hearing Hamas leaders on the nature of democracy for me is equivalent to hearing Hafiz Saeed speaking about respect for human rights. I find it mind-boggling.
    The safety of our citizens goes way beyond political divisions in our society. I'd like to stay polite, so i'll define those views as baseless and stop there.
    But statements like bombing Gaza to the Middle Ages  what do those reflect?
    I've read official communiques of the Cabinet, foreign minister, defence minister and spokespersons' interviews  this is about defence. The operation is named Pillar of Defence. Cabinet communiques mention restoring normal life. The defence minister speaks of deterrence. We're implementing actions to alleviate suffering in Gaza. We let passages between Israel and the Gaza Strip operate. The Ashkalon plant's providing substantial electricity to Gaza. Palestinians from Gaza come into Israel for medical treatment. This is not a society or government that wants to harm its neighbours to the south  quite the opposite.
    What is the ideal resolution?
    The operation's goals  normal life for Israel's citizens to the south, deterrence and damage inflicted on Hamas infrastructure. Israel's government will be very happy if this is achieved through some interaction, even indirect, that restores calm. Egypt is active in these efforts. If Egypt is capable of delivering this agreement, we will be more than happy  but if that's not the case, we will explore other options, including continuing military operations and their intensification.